24 November 2011
- World AIDS Day
- World Trade Organisation (WTO) - The eighth session of the Ministerial Conference
- 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children
World AIDS Day
The year 2011 marks the 23rd anniversary of World AIDS Day, thus making it the longest-running international health commemorative day. The global theme for the World AIDS Day Campaign is “Getting to Zero”, which echoes the UNAIDS’ vision of achieving “Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths”. This theme seeks to encourage individuals and communities to have non-discriminatory and non-judgemental access to adequate HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and tuberculosis (TB) prevention, treatment, care and support.
In South Africa, this annual event will be celebrated in the Eastern Cape under the subtheme “South Africa is Taking Responsibility … on a PATH to Eliminating the TB and HIV Epidemics”. During the 2011 World AIDS Day Campaign, emphasis will be on providing universal access to HIV, STIs and TB prevention, treatment, care and support. This is complementary to the global theme as South Africa will continuously strive to achieve zero HIV infections.
World AIDS Day is used to raise awareness and launch the National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS 2012 – 2016 (NSP), which is a single integrated and national strategic guide for HIV, STI and TB initiatives for the next five years. The decision to include TB was primarily due to the high co-infection rate between HIV and TB. The NSP will be reviewed periodically because it is intended to respond to the changes in the twin epidemics for relevance, effectiveness and the necessary adjustments made.
Government, led by the Deputy President, will embark on a Policy in Action on TB and HIV (PATH) Campaign. The aim of the PATH Campaign is to hear the views of communities regarding HIV and TB, and through the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), ensure that these community-based issues are addressed by the relevant ministries and SANAC sectors. These community interactions will then form the basis for the Annual PATH Update on World AIDS Day. The update will provide the country with a sense of the achievements and challenges of the year, and provide the country with a vision of the response to HIV and TB in the year to come.
A highlight of the World AIDS Day programme will be the launch of the NSP that is aligned with international and regional obligations, commitments and targets related to HIV, STIs and TB. The NSP actions a key priority of government as outlined in the Medium Term Strategic Framework, namely to ensure “a long and healthy life for all South Africans”. The initiatives will also contribute towards the achievement of the millennium development goals (MDGs) by 2015.
The 2011 World AIDS Day Campaign will achieve the following objectives:
- demonstrate policy in action by showcasing government’s commitment in tackling poverty, health and the social needs of our society
- intensify and sustain the provision of HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) and health screening services for TB and other non-communicable diseases as part of an integrated prevention strategy
- mobilise individuals in the high density, mobile areas and deep rural nodes to access health and wellness services, including HCT
- intensify prevention and responsible behaviour messages throughout the festive season.
Government, in consultation with all stakeholders, developed the NSP for HIV and AIDS for the period 2011 to 2016. The plan seeks to achieve the following broad goals:
- reducing new HIV infections by at least 50% using a combination of prevention approaches
- targeting to reduce transmission of HIV from mother to child to less than 2% at six weeks after birth and less than 5% at 18 months of age by 2016 means that pregnant mothers must visit antennal clinics and get tested timely
- initiating at least 80% of eligible patients on antiretroviral treatment (ART), with 70% of those alive and on treatment five years after initiation
- reducing the number of new TB infections as well as deaths from TB by 50%
- ensuring an enabling and accessible legal framework that protects and promotes human rights in order to support implementation of the NSP
- reducing self-reported stigma related to HIV and TB by at least 50%.
The focus of the health system's HIV, AIDS, STI and TB programmes will be to provide health services by taking advantage of the re-engineered primary healthcare (PHC) approach that is centred on communities and households. HIV, AIDS and TB services will be completely integrated with PHC services.
|Key messages||Supporting statements|
|By taking responsibility, working together we can overcome HIV and AIDS, STIs and TB||
The NSP for HIV, AIDS, STI and TB 2012 – 2016 will reduce new HIV and TB infections and reduce infant mortality.
|Government calls on all sectors and individuals to commit to the “Path to Zero” to realise a HIV- and TB-free generation.||
World Trade Organisation (WTO) - The eighth session of the Ministerial Conference
The eighth session of the Ministerial Conference (MC8) will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 15 to 17 December 2011.
South Africa views multilateralism as the necessary intergovernmental response to managing globalisation and the deepening interdependence of national economies.
South Africa has also advocated that the voice and the developmental interests of developing countries – where the majority of the world’s people live – should be fully accommodated in all multilateral institutions of global governance.
|Key message||Supporting statements|
|South Africa’s support for the launch of the Doha Round was based on the agreement that negotiations would place the needs and interests of developing countries at the heart of the work programme.||
|South Africa is concerned that the development mandate agreed at Doha in 2001 has been steadily eroded over the course of the negotiations.||
|South Africa remains committed to concluding the Doha Round on the developmental mandate agreed at Doha in 2001.||
16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children
The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is an international campaign. It takes place every year from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). The period includes Universal Children’s Day, International Day for Disabled Persons and World AIDS Day.
Although the global campaign focuses on violence against women only, South Africa added children to its campaign because of the high incidence of child abuse in the country.
This campaign has been profiled and implemented in South Africa since 1999. The South African Government runs the 16 Days of Activism Campaign to create public awareness of the negative impact of violence on women and children and to encourage collective action against all types of abuse and its prevention in our communities. We are firmly committed to lead a coordinated effort to sustain the campaign into the next decade.
In 2011, the 16 Days of Activism Campaign will be undertaken under the theme: “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Proliferation of small arms and their role in domestic violence.”
The five subthemes will be:
- bringing together women, peace and human rights movements to challenge militarism
- proliferation of small arms and their role in domestic violence
- sexual violence in and after conflict
- political violence against women, including pre-/during/post-election violence
- sexual- and gender-based violence committed by the police and armed forces.
Every year, government, civil-society organisations and the business sector across the continent and globe work together to broaden the impact of the campaign and increase the reach. The 365 Days National Plan was set up in 2006 to eliminate the physical, mental and/ or social abuse, which was implemented through a multisectoral approach with some challenges of institutionalisation and limited financial and human resources.
The 16 Days of Activism Campaign serves as a catalytic mechanism to support government outcomes on gender equality and the protection of children and other vulnerable groups. It also cuts across government’s five key priorities and the 12 outcomes in line with the Results-Based Management Strategy.
This campaign actively supports the priorities of government to empower women, in particular rural women grappling with the challenge of unemployment and poverty; and protects the rights of the child.
During the campaign, government will mobilise communities around the national effort to reduce arms in society, which tend to be the common denominator in many cases of domestic violence.
While there is slight improvement, the levels of physical, emotional and sexual abuse experienced by women and children remain unacceptably high. The recently released crime statistics for 2010/11 indicated that:
- The murder of adult women increased by 5,6% and sexual offences against children (younger than 18 years) increased by 2,6 %.
- However, all other social contact crimes against women and children decreased by margins of between -29,4% and -0,8%. This is in quite sharp contrast to 2009/10, when in most cases, significant increases in social contact crimes against women and children were recorded.
- Sexual offences in general indicates a ratio decrease of -4,4%, from 138,5 sexual offences per 100 000 of the South African population in 2009/10 to 132,4 per 100 000 in 2010/11. This represents a decrease of 2 136 cases, from 68 332 to 66 196.
- The ongoing rape of members of the gay and lesbian community is a crime that will not be tolerated. The Criminal Justice System will deal harshly with the perpetrators of these so-called “corrective rape” crimes.
- A person who kills and extracts body parts has not only committed murder but has violated human rights. There is nothing that can drive a person to commit such horrible crimes against women and children as there are no benefits to be derived from imithi with human body parts.
“Play Your Part”: support government interventions to advance equality and empowerment of women and children.
The Domestic Violence Act, 1998 was enacted to afford survivors of violence maximum protection from domestic abuse. Women being at the most receiving end of domestic violence now have a legal recourse that will ensure their protection.
The Children’s Act, 2005 and Children’s Amendment Act, 2007 were enacted to, among other things, protect a child from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation.
The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Act, 2007 protects victims of abuse from their offenders.
The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 was passed to ensure that women have equal enjoyment of rights and freedom, in addressing the wrongs of the past. Ukuthwala discriminates against gender by perpetuating the abduction of girls and women and violates the Act. Communities should expose these practices and girls should speak out wherever they happen.
The Employment Equity Act, 1998 was passed to ensure non-discrimination in employment, occupation and income within the labour market. It encourages equitable representation of women and other historically disadvantages persons at all levels of public and private entities.
The Maintenance Act, 1998 was legislated to guarantee the rights of a child to a living standard which is adequate for physical, mental, spiritual and social development. The Act ensures that maintenance for the child is recovered from the parents or other persons financially responsible for the child.
|Key message||Supporting statement|
“Play your Part” in making your community safer.
|Government and civil society are committed to preventing and eradicating gender-based violence.||
Government provides services, and support to prevent and eradicate the abuse of women and children.
Strategy to address low literacy, numeracy rates
The Council of Education has approved an Integrated National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy as part of the Basic Education Department's response to the address the low achievement levels of learners in literacy and numeracy. The strategy will target classrooms and teachers as key levers for change in learner performance.
Higher education department to fund learnerships
As part of the agreement between government and the private sector to widen access to post school education and training for the youth; the Department of Higher Education is giving more than R70m to fund training in post-school learnerships. The Department has partnered with National Treasury, the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants and municipalities to provide learnerships for mid-level financial administrators in municipalities.
Cosatu and business back government's Green Accord
Government's has signed an all-inclusive Green Economy Accord that has won the support of its key partners. The agreement aims to create 30,000 jobs in the green economy sector in the next 10 years with business committing to creating 50,000 jobs. The Accord will result in the country relying less on the capital-intensive mining sector and more on manufacturing in order to create jobs.
South Africa seeks partners for renewable energy fund
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that government has made available 800 million rand for renewable energy projects in order to establish its own renewables fund and is seeking private partners to manage the fund to ensure a more coordinated approach. Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said the loan showed great investor confidence in South Africa and Eskom.
Eskom embarks on solar pilot project
Eskom has embarked on a pilot project that will see it using solar power to generate electricity at three of its facilities. The entity, together with Minister Malusi Gigaba, launched a solar photovoltaic (PV) installation designed to introduce renewable energy sources to supply power for internal use at Eskom's coal-fired power stations which will reduce the company's carbon footprint by about 2,845 tons a year.
SA to install a million solar heaters by 2014
South Africa has made a commitment to install a million solar heaters by the end of the 2014 financial year. President Zuma said through the New Growth Path, Government is taking practical measures to promote the development of a green economy and that the state was taking its responsibilities with regards to responding to Climate Change seriously.
Drastic increase in ARV’s decreases HIV infection
The UNAids report has revealed that South Africa has made significant investment in combating HIV with the most impact being on the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission. Around 95% of pregnant HIV-positive women are now getting antiretrovirals to prevent mother to child transmission. According to UNAids, this achievement “reflects political commitment, strong civil society engagement, decentralised service delivery and empowerment of nurses to administer antiretrovirals.”